Northern White Rhino Extinct? Last Living Male, Sudan, Dies in Kenya
After becoming famous last year for being the last of his kind, Sudan, the world's last known northern white rhinoceros has died at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. The 45-year-old rhino was put to sleep on Monday after experts and his caretakers found that his health was deteriorating due to age-related complications.
Northern white rhinos are facing extinction because of widespread poaching in the area in the 1970s and '80s to supply horns for medicine in China and dagger handles in Yemen, according to BBC. "[Sudan's] death is a cruel symbol of human disregard for nature and it saddened everyone who knew him," Dvur Kralove Zoo official Jan Stejskal said. There are only two northern white rhinos left: Sudan's daughter and his granddaughter. But with science, conservationists are hopeful that the subspecies can live on.
"We must take advantage of the unique situation in which cellular technologies are utilized for conservation of critically endangered species," Stejskal added. "It may sound unbelievable, but thanks to the newly developed techniques even Sudan could still have an offspring." Sudan's genetic material was collected before his death, so the idea is that new rhino babies could be produced from his DNA and sex cells from the remaining females. But rhino IVF is not cheap. Estimates are around the $10M mark, which is why the conservancy previously launched a Tinder account for Sudan where his fans could make donations.
There is now a tribute page for the late rhino on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy website that includes photographs, videos, and a very detailed write-up about his life since his birth in the wild in 1973, his capture in 1975, his relocation in 2009, and the days leading up to his death. There is also a GoFundMe where donations can still be made in his honor, as well as links to other ways to give to the cause.